Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Chang Wanquan said China doesn’t have a problem with the US military’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, per se, as long as this strategy is not overly focused on China. “It is our hope that this rebalancing strategy is a constructive one that could help the peace and stability in the region,” he told reporters in the Pentagon on Aug. 19 in response to a question during a joint press briefing with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “On the other hand,” continued Chang, “we would like to have this rebalancing strategy balanced on different countries, as well, because the essence of rebalancing—is balance.” He cautioned against a strategy that “target[s] a specific country.” Chang said China already is noticing a greater US presence in the region, with “the frequency and intensity” of joint military exercises “increasing” of late. These “intensified military activities” do complicate, to a certain degree, the situation in the region, he said through an interpreter. Still, Chang reiterated the Chinese view that the Pacific is big enough for “two great countries.” (Hagel-Chang transcript) (See also US, China Deepen Military Exchanges.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.